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Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ study, which was released today, points to Apple as the second most valuable brand just below Google. This is a reversal from the previous study, which found Apple ranked just above Google.

In the study, Google’s brand value was calculated at $158,843,000, while Apple came in at only $147,880,000.

Of course, this study doesn’t actually point to which company is the most valuable. Instead, Millward Brown uses a combination of financial information—including projected future sales—and customer surveys to determine how much a brand is worth—or how much of the company’s value comes from customers’ views of that company. The entire process of determing a brand’s value is explained in detail on the Millward Brown website.

Essentially, information from customer surveys is used to determine a “brand contribution” number for each company. This number refers to how likely customers are to remain loyal to a company and other similar factors. This “brand contribution” is then multiplied by certain financial figures and the resulting figure is “brand value.”

This “brand value” represents how much of the company’s overall value comes from its brand. If it sounds a non-scientific, that’s probably because it is. Still, it’s interesting to see how consumers and firms like Millward Brown rank these companies.

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